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For example: Do I have to say "It leaves the mouth fresher for a longer time" or can I simply say "It leaves the mouth fresher for longer"? I was comparing two products, and I had to translate some comments about them into English.

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  • Yes, you can say "leaves your mouth fresher for longer".
    – Dan Bron
    Sep 17, 2014 at 13:25
  • Is it grammatically incorrect to say "for long"? For example: "It leaves your mouth fresh for long"
    – Pedro
    Sep 17, 2014 at 13:48
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    While one might argue that "It leaves your mouth fresh for long" is grammatical, no native English speaker would talk that way. Sep 17, 2014 at 22:12

2 Answers 2

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If you are attempting to state it in a way that sounds natural, ie the way a native English speaker would say it, you'd say either

leaves your mouth fresher for longer

or even briefer,

leaves your mouth fresher longer

In fact, the for long in your comment example is more often used in the negative:

your mouth will be fresh, but not for long

meaning the sensation won't last.

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No, you don't ordinarily have to specify that you're talking about time. If someone talks about yeast going a long way, it's understood that "a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump." If you're talking about your tires going a long way, it's understood that the tread lasts many miles. If your chewing gum goes a long way, it's understood that it loses its flavor on the bed post overnight, not in your mouth. Only when you refer to longevity in an unusual measure do you need to specify the reference.

There was an advertiser perhaps 35 tears ago that said their product "keeps you fresher longer" Ad agencies have no reluctance to mangle the language on order to make a lasting impression, and obviously I still remember the phrase (but not the product!), but because it was an unusual construction, not because it was a sin against grammar.

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